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Public as Politician?

Public as Politician?

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Public as Politician? The improvised hierarchies of participatory influence of the April 6th Youth Movement Facebook Group
Alexandra Dunn University of Oslo
Public as Politician? The improvised hierarchies of participatory influence of the April 6th Youth Movement Facebook Group
Alexandra Dunn University of Oslo

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NEW MEDIA

WORKING PAPERS
ALTERNATIVE POLITICS
• 4 •
Public as Politician? The improvised
hierarchies of participatory influence of the
April 6th Youth Movement Facebook Group
Alexandra Dunn
University of Oslo

New Hed|a [ A|ternat|ve Po||t|cs work|ng Papers
Ed|tors: 8harath 8r|nvasan and Anne A|exander, Un|vers|ty of 6ambr|dge
Pub||sher: 6entre of Covernance and human R|ghts, Un|vers|ty of 6ambr|dge
Tre NeW Ved|a j A|lerral|ve Po||l|cs wor||rg Papers |s ar occas|ora| ser|es ol peer-rev|eWed Wor||rg
papers locussed or lre re|al|orsr|p oelWeer 'reW red|a' ard po||l|ca| crarge |r lre V|dd|e Easl ard
Alr|ca. Tre ser|es or|rgs logelrer researcrers, acader|cs, acl|v|sls ard jourra||sls lo cr|l|ca||y reassess
lre assurpl|or lral 'reW red|a' oper up po||l|ca| spaces lor d|sserl, acl|v|sr ard erarc|pal|or.
Tre ser|es corl|rues d|scuss|ors oegur al lre 'NeW Ved|a j A|lerral|ve Po||l|cs corlererce re|d al lre
ur|vers|ly ol Caror|dge 11-1ê 0clooer 2010 W|lr lre supporl ol lre Cerlre lor Researcr |r lre Arls,
3oc|a| 3c|erces ard lurar|l|es (CRA33l) ard lre Cerlre ol 0overrarce ard lurar R|grls (C0lR),
lrrougr lre puo||cal|or ol rev|sed vers|ors ol sore ol lre papers preserled al lre corlererce.
For lurlrer |rlorral|or p|ease see lre C0lR Weos|le:
http:||www.po||s.cam.ac.uk|cghr|research_newmed|a.htm|

0unn, A., 'Pub||c as Po||t|c|an? The |mprov|sed h|erarch|es of part|c|patory |nf|uence of the
Apr|| ô
th
Youth Hovement Facebook Croup', hew Media, Alternative Politics working Papers,
ho. 4, Harch 2012.
A|exandra 0unn, 2012
You are free:
• lo copy, d|slr|oule, ard lrarsr|l lre Wor|
Under the fo||ow|ng cond|t|ons:
• Attr|but|on ÷ You rusl allr|oule lre Wor| |r lre rarrer spec|l|ed oy lre aulror or ||cersor (oul rol |r ary
Way lral suggesls lral lrey erdorse you or your use ol lre Wor|).
• Non-6ommerc|a| ÷ You ray rol use lr|s Wor| lor correrc|a| purposes.
• No 0er|vat|ve works ÷ You ray rol a|ler, lrarslorr, or ou||d upor lr|s Wor|.
P|ease see fu|| deta||s of th|s ||cense here: http:||creat|vecommons.org|||censes|by-nc-nd|2.0|

New Hed|a [ A|ternat|ve Po||t|cs work|ng Papers 1


1
0urr, Puo||c as Po||r|c|an, Varcr 2012
Pub||c as Po||t|c|an? The |mprov|sed h|erarch|es of part|c|patory |nf|uence of the Apr|| ô
th
Youth
Hovement Facebook Croup
1

/|exanora 0unn
2


Abstract

w|lr lre r|se ol soc|a| relWor||rg lecrro|og|es, |so|aled aclors W|lr corror a|rs |rcreas|rg|y use or||re loo|s lo
correcl, srare, d|scuss, ard orgar|ze. Tre preserl sludy see|s lo oeller urderslard lre recrar|srs ol |rl|uerce ard
parl|c|palory slruclures ol a s|rg|e, oper, po||l|ca| Faceooo| group lral ras successlu||y orgar|zed oll||re acl|or W|lroul
re|y|rg or a del|red r|erarcr|ca| slruclure. Al lre l|re lr|s paper Was Wr|ller, lre Apr|| ê
lr
Youlr Vovererl Faceooo|
group rad over 80,000 reroers ard ro |eader, yel Was sl||| capao|e ol acl|rg |r corcerl W|lr lre |rlerl ol relorr|rg lre
repress|ve oll||re po||l|ca| sprere |r Egypl. Exp|or|rg quarl|lal|ve dala co||ecled |r 2009 ard 2010, lre ara|ys|s lourd a
sra|| group ol r|gr|y acl|ve users lral d|recled d|scuss|or or lre Faceooo| wa|| - lre cerlra| ruo ol orgar|zal|ora|
acl|v|ly. Tre vo|ure ol parl|c|pal|or |rcreased s|gr|l|carl|y or sarp|e days ol re|grlered oll||re po||l|ca| acl|v|ly ard,
Wrer lre lop parl|c|parls Were preverled lror corlr|oul|rg lo lre Wa|| or lrese days (oecause ol derorslral|or,
delerl|or, or arresl), arolrer sra|| suosel ol users l|||ed lre |eadersr|p vacuur. Trese l|rd|rgs |rd|cale lral lrere |s
polerl|a| lor Faceooo| ard olrer soc|a| relWor||rg s|les (3N3) lo acl rol or|y as corp|ererlary spaces ol po||l|ca|
d|scuss|or or carpa|gr|rg, oul as p|allorrs lor orgar|zal|ora| slruclures lral ex|sl |rdeperderl|y ol ary parly ard acl lo
successlu||y secure co||ecl|ve|y del|red goa|s.

|ntroduct|on

0eve|oprerls |r or||re relrods ol orgar|z|rg ard relWor||rg rave |ed lo reW poss|o|||l|es lor expard|rg lre lrad|l|ora|
oll||re po||l|ca| sprere ard |rcreas|rg lre ergagererl ol |rleresled aclors lror ouls|de ol |l. Trese reW or||re averues
rave lre polerl|a| lo prov|de lre d|serlrarcr|sed W|lr ar opporlur|ly lo approacr po||l|ca| relorr |r ral|ora| corlexls
Wrere lre deve|oprerl ol po||l|ca| parl|es |s l|grl|y corlro||ed oy lrose |r poWer. Tre slruclure ol ore or||re po||l|ca|
group - lre Faceooo| Apr|| ê
lr
Youlr Vovererl |r Egypl - |s lre oojecl ol ara|ys|s |r lr|s sludy. Ever a cursory
exar|ral|or ol lre puo||c po||l|ca| sprere |r Egypl oelore 2011 sroWs lral lrere Was ||r|led space lor aclors ouls|de ol
lre ru||rg reg|re lo parl|c|pale or exerl |rl|uerce. Tre Apr|| ê
lr
0roup successlu||y operaled lror ouls|de ol lre sea|ed ol
po||l|ca| sprere lo press lor crarge.

Trougr soc|a| relWor||rg s|les (3N3) |||e Faceooo| Were or|g|ra||y des|gred lo lac|||lale lre deve|oprerl ol oll||re
soc|a| relWor|s, lre|r appropr|al|or |r reW geograpr|ca| corlexls ras |ed lo a var|ely ol po||l|ca| uses. Accord|rg|y,
 
1
The paper was presented by Alexandra Dunn at the New Media | Alternative Politics Conference organised with the support of the
Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) and the Centre of Governance and Human Rights
(CGHR), 14-16 October 2010. It therefore presents data and analysis formed before the revolution of 2011. The growing importance
of the 6
th
of April Movement as both an online and offline political actor in Egypt during and after the uprising against Mubarak,
confirm the importance of studying the group's development in the pre-revolutionary period.
2
Alexandra Dunn holds a Master’s degree in Media Studies from the University of Oslo and a Bachelor’s degree from Colorado
College. She is a co-founder of The Engine Room, an organization that investigates and supports the use of new technologies in
advocacy, and she works as the director of training and partnerships for MobileActive’s SaferMobile program.
New Hed|a [ A|ternat|ve Po||t|cs work|ng Papers 1


2
0urr, Puo||c as Po||r|c|an, Varcr 2012
researcr ara|yz|rg Faceooo| usage oegar W|lr a pr|rary locus or lre s|le's soc|a| lealures. 0r|y recerl|y ras researcr
approacred lre s|le's po||l|ca| d|rers|ors ard app||cal|ors.

To qu|c||y rev|eW, se|ecled re|evarl researcr exp|or|rg lre rass adopl|or ol 3N3 ras locused or lre Ways |r Wr|cr 3N3
corp|ererled oll||re soc|a| |rleracl|or (E|||sor, 3le|rl|e|d, ard Larpe, 200Z) ard lre Ways |r Wr|cr ear|y adoplers -
pr|rar||y youlr ard co||ege-aged Weslerrers - used 3N3 as loo|s ol se|l-express|or (8oyd ard E|||sor, 200Z). Researcr
dela|||rg lre po||l|ca| poss|o|||l|es ras pr|rar||y locused or lre Way |r Wr|cr Faceooo| supp|ererls ex|sl|rg po||l|ca|
processes |r lre wesl, |r oolr Arer|car ard 8r|l|sr corlexls (8|ddex ard Par|, 2008; Feeze| el a|, 2009) oul lr|s
ara|ys|s ras rol assessed Faceooo| groups as slard-a|ore po||l|ca| orgar|zal|ors. Researcr ras oeer |arge|y
reacl|orary lo po||l|ca| deve|oprerls (3rareer, 2008) or ras allerpled lo sludy lre prerorero|og|ca| exper|erce ol
|rd|v|dua| users. ll ras rol locused or deve|op|rg lreorel|ca| lrareWor|s lo oeller urderslard lre polerl|a| uses ol
Faceooo| as a loo| lor po||l|ca| orgar|zal|or. Tr|s W||| urdouoled|y crarge as pallerrs ard lrerds |r Faceooo| po||l|ca|
rovererls oecore rore corror ard lre red|a l|e|d ras a rore suoslarl|a| arourl ol l|re lo cr|l|ca||y assess
deve|oprerls.

Velrodo|og|ca| approacres lo sludy|rg lrese reW po||l|ca| deve|oprerls rave allerpled lo grall lrad|l|ora| soc|a|
relWor| lreorel|ca| lrareWor|s or po||l|ca| corrur|cal|or corcepls. wr||e lre use ol Corpuler Ved|aled
Corrur|cal|or lreory ard |ls precursor, d|scourse ara|ys|s, |s a pror|s|rg Way lo ara|yze po||l|ca| or||re
corrur|cal|or, |ls locus or lre ore-lo-ore slruclure ol corrur|cal|or la||s lo address lre curu|al|ve resu|l ol or||re
group lorral|or ard acl|v|ly. Puo||c group p|allorrs ol d|scuss|or, as suo-red|a ard corrur|cal|ors erv|rorrerls,
allecl group propu|s|or, srap|rg lre Way a group roves lorWard |r eslao||sr|rg ard accorp||sr|rg goa|s. Tre urder|y|rg
slruclure ol lr|s lype ol corrur|cal|or carrol oe successlu||y exar|red as ar aggregale ol ore-lo-ore corrur|cal|or.

Tre preserl paper see|s lo address lr|s gap |r ||leralure oy prov|d|rg a rode| lor urderslard|rg lre Way lral lre
slruclure ol lre Faceooo| group car oe used as a p|allorr lo rosl |arge, dec|s|or-ra||rg, po||l|ca| orgar|zal|ors. Ard
Wr||e lre sludy |s oolr reacl|orary, |r lral lre researcr oegar Wrer lre oojecl ol sludy Was a|ready successlu||y
eslao||sred, ard oased upor a s|rg|e case sludy, |r lral |l exp|ores a s|rg|e po||l|ca| corlexl ard a s|rg|e po||l|ca| group,
lre relrodo|og|ca| approacr |s rep||cao|e, lre dala co||ecled |s quarl|lal|ve, ard lre approacr |s des|gred lo expose
slruclura| e|ererls lral, Wrer carelu||y cors|dered, car oe used lo oeller urderslard lre lreorel|ca| ard gerera||zao|e
slruclures ol po||l|ca| or||re groups as a|lerral|ves lo lrad|l|ora| po||l|ca| parl|es ard orgar|zal|ors.

Theoret|ca| ßackground

Tre lreorel|ca| rode| |s ou||l ol lWo lreor|es: lre 'lWo-slep l|oW ol corrur|cal|or¨ rode| sel lorlr |r 1911 (Lazarsle|d el
a|.) ard lre agerda sell|rg rode| sel lorlr |r 19Z2 (VcCoros ard 3raW). Tre l|rsl exp|a|rs puo||c op|r|or lorral|or oy
argu|rg lral lrere are a sra|| suosel ol c|l|zers |r a g|ver popu|al|or lral are rore acl|ve|y ergaged |r reWs
corsurpl|or ard po||l|ca| ara|ys|s. Trese c|l|zers, duooed 'op|r|or-|eaders,¨ are respors|o|e lor d|spers|rg Wral lrey
cors|der lo oe lre rosl perl|rerl |rlorral|or lo lre|r persora| relWor|s. Agerda-sell|rg ras oeer used lo descr|oe lre
New Hed|a [ A|ternat|ve Po||t|cs work|ng Papers 1


3
0urr, Puo||c as Po||r|c|an, Varcr 2012
ro|e lral red|a aulror|ly l|gures sucr as ed|lors, reWs producers, ard jourra||sls rave or lre |rlorral|or d|scussed |r
lre puo||c sprere.

lr lre sludy preserled rere lrese lWo rode|s Were coro|red as a Way lo exp|a|r lre Way |r Wr|cr lre op|r|or ol ar
oper group deve|oped ard lre Way |r Wr|cr dec|s|ors are rade. Tre op|r|or |eaders - acl|rg as |rlorra| |eaders ol lre
group - sel lre agerda ol lre group Wr|cr |r lurr |rc|les lre group lo acl|or. lr lr|s Way, a seer|rg|y |eader|ess group
car carry oul ellecl|ve acl|ors W|lroul ar oll|c|a|, lorra| r|erarcry. As a resu|l, lre group |s |rrure lo lre lrad|l|ora|
repress|ve goverrrerl lacl|c ol exlra-jud|c|a||y dela|r|rg |eaders ol |rl|uerl|a| groups. Tr|s lreorel|ca| rode| W||| oe
app||ed lo lre Apr|| ê
lr
Youlr Vovererl 0roup |r Egypl.

Apr|| ô
th
Youth Hovement Facebook Croup ßackground

Tre lealures ol Faceooo| groups (|rc|ud|rg ru|l|-|arguage p|allorrs), |oW-lrarsacl|or cosls, ard uo|qu|ly, rave, as
Faceooo| ras oeer adopled g|ooa||y, oeer corduc|ve |r |rcreas|rg|y ||r||rg po||l|ca| aclors resu|l|rg |r po||r|ca| relWor|s.
Ar exarp|e ol lr|s a|lerral|ve po||l|ca| slruclur|rg ol acl|v|ly |s lre Apr|| êlr Youlr Vovererl Faceooo| group Wr|cr
deve|oped |r lre po||l|ca| corlexl ol Egypl. Forred |r 2008, lre group - Wr|cr ras over 81,000 reroers al lre l|re ol
lr|s Wr|l|rg

- a|rs lo prov|de a p|allorr lor d|scuss|or aooul Egypl ard |ls p|elrora ol proo|ers

. Tre l|rsl acl|or ard
|r|l|a| |rpelus lor lre group's lorral|or Was lo supporl a Wor|ers' slr||e al a laclory |r Vara||a a|-Kuora, ar |rduslr|a|
loWr |r lre N||e 0e|la. Tre group's |r|l|al|ves successlu||y spar|ed a ral|orW|de prolesl or ê Apr|| 2008. 0overrrerl
oll|c|a|s arresled rore lrar 200 proleslers, sever ol Wror Were correcled lo lre or||re orgar|zal|or ol lre prolesl,
rosl ol Wr|cr loo| p|ace or Faceooo|. (3rap|ro, 2009)

Tre group a|so successlu||y orgar|zed a co||ecl|ve resporse lo apo||l|ca| everls. lr lre allerralr ol devaslal|rg
roc|s||des |r 3epleroer 2008, Faceooo| acl|v|sls coord|raled exlers|ve re||el ellorls ard lurdra|s|rg dr|ves lo ass|sl
allecled lar|||es. Accord|rg lo Vora E|laraWay, 'Faceooo| acl|v|sls oecare lre lr|r ||re oelWeer rage ard sreer
ararcry.¨ (2008: Z1)

lr resporse lo lre success ol lrese |r|l|a| acl|ors, 'oelWeer Vay 1, 2008 ard Apr|| ê, 2009, lre Vuoara| reg|re
erp|oyed lrree d|sl|rcl slraleg|es lo dera|| lre Apr|| ê
lr
rovererl - ecoror|c, repress|ve, ard lecrro|og|ca|.¨ (Far|s,
2009: 3) Tre goverrrerl arresled lre orgar|zer ol lre Faceooo| group ard re|eased rer lrree Wee|s |aler aller sre
corderred rer ro|e ard parl|c|pal|or |r lre prolesls. Tre olrer pr|rary orgar|zer l|ed lror aulror|l|es, Was
apprererded, ard a||eged lral re Was lorlured url|| re revea|ed lre passWord lo r|s Faceooo| accourl. (lo|o)

lr Apr|| ol 2010, lre Apr|| ê
lr
Youlr Vovererl repealed ca||s lor prolesl or lre secord arr|versary ol lre or|g|ra| Vara||a
derorslral|ors. lr lre l|rsl lWo years ol orgar|z|rg lor prolesls or Apr|| ê
lr
, lre group Was rol a||gred W|lr ary spec|l|c
erl|ly. lr 2010, a reW oppos|l|ora| |eader, Vorared E|8arade|, re|ped lo ga|var|ze severa| rovererls urder lre
urore||a ol lre Apr|| ê
lr
prolesl (0urr, 2010). E|8arade|, lre lorrer d|reclor ol lre lrlerral|ora| Alor|c Erergy Agercy
 
3
At the time of the data collection the group had slightly more than 73,000 members.
4
According to the info page written by the administrators.
New Hed|a [ A|ternat|ve Po||t|cs work|ng Papers 1


1
0urr, Puo||c as Po||r|c|an, Varcr 2012
ard Nooe| Laureale, garrered rorerlous supporl, l|rsl lror a Faceooo| group eslao||sred oy Egypl|ars see||rg lo
ercourage r|r lo rur lor pres|derl |r 2011.

8elWeer r|s arr|va| |r Egypl |r Feoruary ard lre 2010 Apr|| ê
lr
prolesl, E|8arade| caused ar |rcreas|rg|y |rlerse reacl|or
lror lre Egypl|ar po||l|ca| sprere. lr |ale 3epleroer ol 2010, a |eader |r lre NAC Was arresled.

. E|8arade| ard r|s
Nal|ora| Assoc|al|or lor Crarge carpa|gred lo arerd lre corsl|lul|ora| prov|s|ors lral preverled |rdeperderl
card|dales lror rurr|rg lor lre pres|dercy ard lr|s oecare lre locus ol lre Apr|| ê
lr
2010 prolesl.

wr||e lre 2009 prolesl |ac|ed a slruclured ressage (Far|s, 2009) lre 2010 prolesl c|ear|y ca||ed lor larg|o|e crarges. As
a courleracl|rg reasure, lre goverrrerl srul doWr lre Weos|le ol oolr lre Apr|| ê
lr
Youlr Vovererl ard E|8arade|, oul
d|d rol srul doWr Faceooo|. Tre resporse lror lre Vuoara| reg|re Was sW|ll ard lorcelu|. lr doWrloWr Ca|ro, or lre
rorr|rg ol ê Apr|| 2010, severa| rurdred r|ol po||ce ard p|a|rc|olres oll|cers dragged aWay proleslors ard dela|red lrer
|r arry delerl|or lruc|s. Reporls ol jourra||sls, oolr |rlerral|ora| ard |oca|, Wro Were rarassed, dela|red, ard rad lre|r
careras ard ce|| prores corl|scaled, rosl |||e|y exp|a|r lre ruled red|a coverage ol lre crac|doWr. Aller lWerly
r|rules ol acl|v|ly, lre secur|ly oll|cers slopped lre prolesl ard ra|rla|red a |arge preserce |r lre doWrloWr area lor
lre resl ol lre day.

Vorlrs aller lre 2010 derorslral|ors - |r Ju|y ol 2010 - lre Egypl|ar goverrrerl's secur|ly serv|ces erp|oyed a
suour|l lo ror|lor lre acl|v|l|es ol lre 3.8 r||||or Egypl|ar Faceooo| users, ror|lor era|| corrur|cal|or lrave||rg |r ard
oul ol Egypl, ard prov|de delerse ard supporl lor lre po||c|es ol lre ru||rg reg|re's parly - Pres|derl losr| Vuoara|'s
Nal|ora| 0erocral|c Parly (N0P). 0|ver lral lre las|s Were lo oe carr|ed oul oy 15 secur|ly persorre|, lre success ol
lre operal|or seered ur|||e|y, oul lre a|r Was le|||rg (Raool, 2010). Tre repress|ve reasures allerpl|rg lo que|| lre
rorerlur ol lre Apr|| ê
lr
ard Nal|ora| Assoc|al|or lor Crarge, Were |r ||re W|lr r|slor|ca| allerpls rade oy lre
Vuoara| reg|re lo sla||, ard u|l|rale|y d|soard, oudd|rg oppos|l|or rovererls lral lrrealered lre supreracy ol lre
Nal|ora| 0erocral|c Parly. Tr|s goverrrerla| reacl|or |eg|l|r|zed lre slruclura| poWer ard po||l|ca| lorces ol lre
rovererl oy lreal|rg |l as ar orgar|zal|or W|lr |eaders ard goa|s. 8ul, as|de lror E| 8arade|'s ce|eor|ly, Wr|cr ras or|y
recerl|y ererged as a vo|ce ard lace a||gred W|lr lre rovererl, lrere Was ro c|ear r|erarcry lral goverred lre group.

0rgan|zat|ona| Features of the Apr|| ô
th
Youth Hovement Facebook Croup

As ar orgar|zal|ora| recrar|sr, lre Apr|| ê
lr
Faceooo| group ras rol oeer cors|slerl. Tre group ras oeer p|agued
W|lr a |oW corr|lrerl |eve|, a sra|| ruroer ol or-lre-grourd |eaders ard parl|c|parls, ard ar arorprous ressage
(Far|s, 2009). 8ul, degree ard cors|slercy ol success ard goverrrerl resporse as|de, roW d|d lre ararcr|c, oper
group ra|e dec|s|ors corcerr|rg Wr|cr |ssues are lo oe lac||ed, ard lre orgar|zal|or ol oll||re acl|v|l|es?

wrer a Faceooo| group groWs lo |rc|ude rore lrar 5,000 reroers, Faceooo| reroves lre ao|||ly ol lre group
adr|r|slralor lo serd d|recl Faceooo| ressages lo users. w|lroul lre ao|||ly lo serd d|recl ressages, or lre ao|||ly lo
 
5
According to the International Freedom for Expression Exchange and Arab Network for Human Rights Information. See
bibliography for the hyperlink to the press release.
New Hed|a [ A|ternat|ve Po||t|cs work|ng Papers 1


5
0urr, Puo||c as Po||r|c|an, Varcr 2012
rave Wa|| ressages appear or |rd|v|dua| user's reWsleeds, lre Wa|| ol lre group oecores lre ep|cerler ol a group's
ressage. Tre adr|r|slralor sl||| ras lre poWer lo adjusl lre dala d|sp|ayed |r lre lrlo secl|or ol lre Faceooo| page,
d|recl group reroers lo lre Apr|| ê
lr
dora|r ouls|de ol Faceooo|, rerove reroers, de|ele posls, ard |rv|le reroers
lo allerd Faceooo| Everls. 8ul, lre adr|r|slralor ras ro o|rd|rg oo||gal|or lo cersor group d|scuss|or or ever ra|rla|r
ar acl|ve all|||al|or W|lr lre group. lr lre case ol lre Apr|| ê
lr
Youlr Vovererl group, ore ol lre |r|l|a| adr|r|slralors ard
crealors ol lre group rerourced all|||al|or, oul lre group corl|rued lurcl|or|rg. wrer a group reacres a cerla|r s|ze, lre
acl|v|ly ol reroers droWrs oul lre |rpacl ol a s|rg|e adr|r|slralor.

Facebook wa|| as 0rgan|zat|ona| hub

Tre group Wa|| |s lre l|rsl page a user sees Wrer access|rg lre group page ard, |r |arge groups, lre posled corlerl |s
corslarl|y crarg|rg. Tre Wa|| |s a|so lre rosl puo||c space |r lre group ard, as lre pr|rary lorr ol |rleracl|or lral a
user ras W|lr lre group, |l oecores a cerlra| ruo ol lre group's orgar|zal|ora| poWer. Eacr user ras ar equa|
opporlur|ly lo posl correrls ard ryper||r|s. Tr|s equa||ly |r parl|c|pal|or g|ves a|| reroers, |rc|ud|rg lre
adr|r|slralors, polerl|a||y equa| corlro| over lre corlerl d|scussed.

Tr|s lorr ol ega||lar|ar|sr |s ar |rrale craracler|sl|c ol lre slruclur|rg ol Faceooo|. Trere |s ro recrar|sr lo separale
groups or creale r|erarcr|es: a lr|erd |s a lr|erd, a group reroer a group reroer. A Faceooo| user carrol d|llererl|ale
oelWeer a c|ose lr|erd ard a reW acqua|rlarce excepl oy lre vo|ure ard |rlers|ly W|lr Wr|cr lre user |rleracls W|lr|r
lre Faceooo| lorur. lr lr|s Way, lre o|rary ol re|al|orsr|ps (e|lrer a Faceooo| lr|erd or rol a Faceooo| lr|erd) |s
err|cred, ard r|l|galed, oy lre palrWays ol user |rleracl|or, corlerl producl|or, corrur|cal|or, ard |rlorral|or
srar|rg.

lr lre group sell|rg, lr|s oecores a cr|l|ca| e|ererl ol po||l|ca| orgar|z|rg. 8ecause lrere |s ro del|red r|erarcry, lre
eoos ard l|oWs ol corlerl |rlorra||y d|recl group locus. Trere |s ro group |eader - ary reroer car la|e lre '|ead¨ ard
d|recl lre group's d|scuss|or, locus, ard, oy exlers|or, acl|v|l|es, lrrougr lre vo|ure ard pass|or ol lre po||l|ca|
corrur|cal|or ard corlerl-srar|rg lral lrey |r|l|ale |r lre group's oper space.

Tre sur ol lre corlerl or lre Wa|| lrer oecores lre ressage ol lre group. lr lr|s Way, lre parl|c|pal|or ol group
reroers oecores lre pr|rary delerr|r|rg e|ererl ol lre group's croser palr.

For lr|s reasor, lre degree ard d|slr|oul|or ol user parl|c|pal|or |s ar |rporlarl e|ererl lo assess lo oeller urderslard
lre |rlorra| r|erarcr|ca| slruclure ol lre group ard lre Way |r Wr|cr lre |eader-|ess group does arylr|rg al a||.

To oeller urderslard lre urder|y|rg slruclure ol lre group, lre researcr quesl|ors |r lre preserl sludy Were des|gred lo
|ocale lre 'op|r|or |eaders,¨ assess lre lypes ol |rlorral|or users posled v|a ryper||r|, see |l lrere |s a corre|al|or
oelWeer lre |rlers|ly ol a g|ver user's parl|c|pal|or ard lre corlerl lral s/re posls, ard lrer see roW lre group adapls
lo exlerra| everls ard lre rerova| ol op|r|or |eaders. To lral erd lre researcr quesl|ors are as lo||oWs:
New Hed|a [ A|ternat|ve Po||t|cs work|ng Papers 1


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0urr, Puo||c as Po||r|c|an, Varcr 2012

Research 0uest|on 1
ls rnere a sma||, n|gn|, acr|ve group ol users rnar conrr|oure ro rne ua|| conrenr ar o|sproporr|onare|, n|gner |eve|s rnan rne
|arge ma¡or|r, ol rne group?

Tre degree ol parl|c|pal|or oy acl|ve reroers |s lre pr|rary laclor ol lre|r |eve| ol |rl|uerce. To assess lre |rlorra|
r|erarcry lral deve|ops as cerla|r reroers la|e a rore acl|ve ro|e |r delerr|r|rg lre corlerl erv|rorrerl ol lre group,
lre preserl sludy sougrl lo crarl lre d|slr|oul|or ol parl|c|pal|or.

l'. S|ven rne parrerns presenr |n a u|oe arra, ol soc|o|og|ca| serr|ngs unereo, rnere |s an exponenr|a| re|ar|onsn|p
oerueen rne vo|ume ol a rop conrr|ouror´s parr|c|par|on |n an open group ano rne secono lrom rne rop, rne l|rsr n,pornes|s
|s rnar a sma|| numoer ol n|gn|, acr|ve memoers u||| emerge.

Research 0uest|on 2
/re n,per||nk|ng oenav|ors {|n rerms ol conrenr ano vo|umej ol rop conrr|ourors o|llerenr rnan rne group as a uno|e?

lr order lo oeller urderslard lre oerav|or ol lop corlr|oulors ard lre|r corlr|oul|or lo lre red|a erv|rorrerl ol lre
group, a qua||lal|ve ara|ys|s ol ryper||r||rg Was corducled. Tr|s rore |r-deplr ara|ys|s ol lre d|llererce |r lre lype ol
corlerl lop corlr|oulors posled lo lre Faceooo| Wa||, rade |l poss|o|e lo exp|ore lre agerda sell|rg capao|||l|es ol lre
lop corlr|oulors. To do lr|s, ryper||r|s Were assoc|aled W|lr user rares ard calegor|zed. Tr|s process |s exp|a|red
lurlrer |r lre relrodo|ogy porl|or ol lr|s paper.

l2. Top conrr|ourors ro rne Faceoook group ua|| u||| more olren n,per||nk ro meo|a sources ours|oe ol rne Faceoook
spnere.

Research 0uest|on 3
ls rne parr|c|paror, srrucrure ol rne /pr|| 6
rn
Yourn Vovemenr group o|llerenr our|ng r|mes ol exrerna| po||r|ca| |nrens|r,? ll
so, nou?

0roup Resporse lo Po||l|ca| 0eve|oprerls
ll a group |s lo ellecl|ve|y pursue |ls goa|s, |l rusl oe respors|ve lo exlerra| deve|oprerls. Tre |r|l|a| dala co||ecl|or
prase ol lre preserl sludy, dur|rg Wr|cr lre lWo-Wee| slruclured sarp|e Was co||ecled ard lre l|rsl researcr quesl|or
approacred, Was a re|al|ve|y ca|r per|od |r lre Egypl|ar po||l|ca| sprere.

For lr|s reasor, lre lWo-Wee| corslrucled
sarp|e serves as a oase||re ol acl|v|ly aga|rsl Wr|cr sp||es |r po||l|ca| acl|v|ly ol lre group cou|d oe corpared. Trree
days ol c|ear po||l|ca| |rlers|ly dur|rg 2010 Were ara|yzed us|rg lre sare relrodo|og|ca| approacr lo assess lre
slruclure ol lre parl|c|pal|or ol reroers |r po||l|ca| corlexls ol re|grlered |rlers|ly. ll lre corre|al|or oelWeer lre
parl|c|palory slruclure ard orgar|zal|ora| |rlerl ol lre group |s lo oe exp|ored, ar ara|ys|s ol lrese slruclures |r
corparal|ve corlexls |s cr|l|ca|.
 
6
There were no elections or street demonstrations during this phase of data collection.
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0urr, Puo||c as Po||r|c|an, Varcr 2012

lJ. Tne secono n,pornes|s |s rnar rne rora| vo|ume ol |nreracr|on u|rn rne Faceoook wa|| uou|o |ncrease suosranr|a||, |n
po||r|ca||, |nrense oll||ne conrexrs.

Research 0uest|on 4
/re rne rop conrr|ourors on oa,s ol exrerna| po||r|ca| acr|v|r, rne same as our|ng rne ruo-ueek consrrucreo samp|e?

0roup F|ex|o|||ly |r lre Everl ol a 0overrrerl Crac|doWr
Tre rosl acl|ve reroers ol lre Faceooo| group are rore |||e|y lo la|e parl |r oll||re derorslral|ors. ll lral |s lre case,
lrer or days ol exlerra| acl|or ard po||l|ca| |rlers|ly, |l |s |||e|y lral dur|rg derorslral|ors sore ol lre lop corlr|oulors lo
lre Faceooo| 0roup wa|| Wou|d oe acl|ve|y prolesl|rg ard lrerelore rur a r|s| ol oe|rg arresled or dela|red. lr lral
everl, lrey Wou|d oov|ous|y rol rave access lo lre |rlerrel ard Wou|d oe urao|e lo |eep up lre|r corlr|oul|ors lo lre
Faceooo| Wa||. ll lre group Were pass|ve ard deperded upor a r|g|d r|erarcry, lre vo|ure ol acl|v|ly or lre Faceooo|
Wa|| Wou|d decrease ard lre pallerrs ol corlr|oul|or Wou|d l|aller.

l4. Dn rne s|ng|e oa, samp|es ol po||r|ca| |nrens|r,, parr|cu|ar|, oa,s unere oll||ne oemonsrrar|ons |eao ro arresrs, rne rop
conrr|ourors u||| cnange, our rne parrerns ol a sma|| suoser ol o|sproporr|onare|, acr|ve users u||| rema|n rne same.

0ata 6o||ect|on and Hethodo|og|ca| Approach

Eth|ca| |ssues

8elore oeg|rr|rg lre dala co||ecl|or a ser|es ol elr|ca| quesl|ors Were ra|sed ard addressed oy lre researcrer. Tre
pr|rary elr|ca| |ssue |s lre polerl|a| |rvas|or ol pr|vacy |r ror|lor|rg a group's acl|v|l|es. Eyseroar ard T||| (2001)
oul||re elr|ca| |ssues |r ror|lor|rg ard researcr|rg or||re d|scuss|or lorurs. Trey argue lral lre rosl |rporlarl lrree
elr|ca| |ssues lor ror|lor|rg lrese groups |s |rlorred corserl, pr|vacy, ard corl|derl|a||ly.

|nformed 6onsent

Rece|v|rg perr|ss|or lror group users lo ror|lor acl|v|ly ard co||ecl dala |s recessary Wrer lre group |s pr|vale ard
severa| olrer cord|l|ors a|so app|y. (8r|l|sr 3oc|o|og|ca| Assoc|al|or 2002) To delerr|re |l a group |s puo||c or pr|vale,
lrere are lWo ra|r lesls: lre perce|ved pr|vacy ol lre users ard lre degree lo Wr|cr users are 'see||rg puo||c v|s|o|||ly.¨
Eyseroar ard T||| (2001) argue lor lre use ol lrree ra|r laclors lo delerr|re lre perce|ved |eve| ol pr|vacy ol group
reroers: lre oarr|er ol erlry lo group reroersr|p, lre ruroer ol reroers, ard lre reroers' percepl|or ol lre
group's a|rs. 8ecause lre oarr|er ol erlry |s s||grl, lre s|ze ol lre group |s very |arge, ard lre group's a|rs are lo |r|l|ale
crarge |r lre oll||re erv|rorrerl, lre Apr|| ê
lr
Youlr Vovererl Faceooo| group Was cors|dered a puo||c group.

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8
0urr, Puo||c as Po||r|c|an, Varcr 2012
Tre or|y requ|rererl ol v|s|l|rg lre group's page ard corlerl |s rav|rg ar acl|ve Faceooo| accourl. 8ecause ol lre
puo||c ralure ol lre group, lrere |s ro expeclal|or ol pr|vacy lor |rd|v|dua|s. For lr|s reasor, acl|ve ard |rlorred corserl
lor group reroers Was rol oola|red, ror does lr|s researcrer lr|r| lral sucr corserl |s elr|ca||y rardaled.

Pr|vacy and 6onf|dent|a||ty

Pr|vacy lor lre acl|v|ly |r lre Faceooo| group |s |rporlarl lor severa| reasors. Exposure ol group acl|v|ly ras lre
polerl|a| lo allecl group reroers' salely. Negal|ve |rpacl or lre group reroers' salely cou|d ar|se as a resu|l ol
c|rcu|al|rg a reporl aooul lre reroers ard lre|r acl|v|ly. Trougr lre dala co||ecled corla|rs user rares ol lre |rd|v|dua|
group reroers ard lrougr user rares or Faceooo| are oller lre sare as lre oll||re rares ol |rd|v|dua|s, lrese
rares Were rol |rc|uded |r lr|s paper. Trey Were used oy lre researcrer lo ara|yze dala lo ersure lral ryper||r|s are
rol allr|ouled lo lre Wrorg |rd|v|dua|s, oul lrey Were rep|aced, Wrere recessary, oy rurer|ca| represerlal|or Wrer
recorded |r lre dala ara|ys|s porl|or ol lr|s paper. Ary dala rar|ers lral ra|e c|ear lre |rd|v|dua| rerl|ored Were
exc|uded lo prolecl lre |derl|ly ol lre user ard lrereoy prolecl lre|r salely ard lre|r pr|vacy.

8ecause lre preserl sludy does rol |rvo|ve corlerl ara|ys|s, group reroers Were rol quoled. For lr|s reasor lrere
Was ro reed lo elr|ca||y address quole allr|oul|or lor reroers ol lre group.

Facebook P|atform

Arolrer elr|ca| |ssue |s Faceooo|'s Terrs ol 3erv|ce (T03). Accord|rg Faceooo|'s T03, |l |s rol perr|lled lo co||ecl
|rlorral|or lror lre Faceooo| Weos|le us|rg auloraled sollWare. To respecl lre orgar|zal|or's user po||cy ard sl|||
co||ecl a re||ao|e sarp|e, dala lror lre Faceooo| Wa|| Was rarua||y cop|ed ard pasled, sorled |rlo calegor|es, ard
descr|oed us|rg lre quarl|lal|ve dala po|rls oul||red aoove. 0ala raragererl Was corlro||ed |r Exce|.

0ata 6o||ect|on

Tre l|rsl prase ol dala co||ecl|or cors|sled ol a lWo-Wee| corslrucled sarp|e |r Wr|cr a|| acl|v|ly |r a ser|es ol lourleer
21-rour per|ods Was co||ecled. Tre lWo-Wee| corslrucled sarp|e loo| p|ace lror 0clooer ol 2009 lo Jaruary ol 2010
us|rg a corsecul|ve Wee|day rode| Wrereoy lre co||ecl|or loo| p|ace |r 8-day |rlerva|s lo ersure ar equa| ruroer ol
eacr days ol lre Wee| Were |rc|uded. Tr|s oa|arce sougrl lo corlro| lor day-oased sp||es or |u||s |r acl|v|ly ard user
parl|c|pal|or. To oeller urderslard lre corlerl lral reroers Were srar|rg, ryper||r|s Were sorled oased or calegor|es
deve|oped dur|rg a p||ol ara|ys|s corducled pr|or lo dala co||ecl|or. Tre dala co||ecled |rc|uded: lre user rare ol lre
reroer, lre lype ol parl|c|pal|or (posl, correrl, |||e), ard lre ryper||r| (|l ary) |rc|uded |r lre parl|c|pal|or. Trese
ur|ls Were lrer lola|ed ard allr|ouled lo lre user lral Was respors|o|e lor lrer.
New Hed|a [ A|ternat|ve Po||t|cs work|ng Papers 1


9
0urr, Puo||c as Po||r|c|an, Varcr 2012
Aller lre l|rsl prase ol dala ara|ys|s Was corp|eled, a ||sl ol lre lop lWerly-lour

corlr|oulors Was corp||ed. Tre acl|v|ly
|eve| ol lrese lop corlr|oulors Was assessed lo exp|ore roW rucr ol lre Wa|| acl|v|ly Was lror lrese lop corlr|oulors.
Tre ryper||r||rg pallerrs Were a|so corpared oelWeer lre lop corlr|oulors ard lre group as a Wro|e.

0ata Ana|ys|s

Tre group s|ze l|uclualed dur|rg lre lWo-Wee| sarp|e oul lre rear group s|ze dur|rg lre dala co||ecl|or per|od Was
Z1,898 reroers. 0l lrese group reroers, lrere Were 3Z1 |rd|v|dua| users lral ergaged |r sore lype ol acl|v|ly or lre
Faceooo| group Wa||, rear|rg lral or|y .500Zº ol users ergaged |r ary lype ol acl|v|ly or lre cerlra| rode ol lre
relWor|.

Tre lWo graprs oe|oW crarl d|slr|oul|or curves ol corlr|oul|or ol lrese 3Z1 reroers. Tre l|rsl d|sp|ays lre urWe|grled
ur|ls ol corlr|oul|or, ard lre secord lre ruroer ol ryper||r|s posled. Tre y-va|ues are ur|ls ol corlr|oul|or (as del|red
|r lre relrodo|ogy secl|or) ard lre x-va|ue ur|ls are |rlegers ass|gred lo lre group reroers, W|lr ore oe|rg lre rosl
acl|ve corlr|oulor, ard 3Z1 oe|rg lre |easl acl|ve user. Tre y-va|ues |r lre We|grled grapr are ur|ls ol corlr|oul|or
ru|l|p||ed oy lre va|ues ol lre |eve| ol acl|v|ly ass|gred |r lre relrodo|ogy secl|or. Tre ryper||r| grapr |rc|udes 3Z1 x-
va|ues, oul lrere Were or|y 130 users lral posled ryper||r|s.

Nole lre exlrere |rcrease |r corlr|oul|or arorg lre lop corlr|oulors. Tr|s |rcrease Wou|d oe rore prorourced |l lre
Z1,533 reroers Wro d|d rol corlr|oule dur|rg lre corslrucled sarp|e Were ass|gred a va|ue ol zero or lre y-ax|s lre
grapr. 8ecause lr|s l|rsl prase ol lre ara|ys|s |s rearl lo |so|ale lre lop conrr|ourors, a |arger grapr represerl|rg lre
erl|re group, |rc|ud|rg lrose lral d|d rol corlr|oule |s exlrareous.

 
7
The list of twenty-four came from a three step process: data was collected and weighted for the degree of participation; the data
was also preserved unweighted; the top twenty of each of these two formats of measurement (weighted and unweighted) were
considered top contributors; when these two lists were merged, there was considerable overlap and the total number of unique top
contributors in the merged list was twenty-four. For the remainder of this paper, any time the phrase top contributor is used, this is in
reference to these twenty-four users.
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0urr, Puo||c as Po||r|c|an, Varcr 2012


Srapn '.' |no|cares rne vo|ume ol acr|v|r, ol eacn x-un|r {|no|v|oua| userj ass|gneo a va|ue lrom ' rnrougn J74, ' oe|ng
rne mosr acr|ve user, J74 oe|ng rne |easr acr|ve. Tne rreno||ne measures rne corre|ar|on oerueen rne oara ano a pouer-
|au o|srr|our|on.



Srapn '.2 |no|cares rne vo|ume ol acr|v|r, ol eacn x-un|r {|no|v|oua| userj ass|gneo a va|ue lrom ' rnrougn 'J0, ' oe|ng
rne mosr acr|ve user, 'J0 oe|ng rne |easr acr|ve. Tne rreno||ne measures rne corre|ar|on oerueen rne oara ano a pouer-
|au o|srr|our|on.



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11
0urr, Puo||c as Po||r|c|an, Varcr 2012
6ategor|z|ng hyper||nks

Aller lre ryper||r|s Were calegor|zed oy lype, lre lola| ruroer ol eacr calegory ol ryper||r|s Was d|v|ded |rlo lWo
groups, ryper||r|s posled oy lre lop corlr|oulors ard ryper||r|s posled oy a|| corlr|oulors. Tre ryper||r|s, as ur|ls ol
ara|ys|s, Were lrer calegor|zed oy lype. 8y ca|cu|al|rg lre proporl|or ol eacr calegory ol ryper||r|s ard lrer ca|cu|al|rg
lre proporl|or ol eacr calegory ol ryper||r|s posled oy lre lop corlr|oulors ol ryper||r|s |l |s poss|o|e lo corpare lre
proporl|or ol corlr|oul|or lror lre lop users ard roW lre|r ryper||r||rg oerav|or |s d|llererl lrar lre oerav|or ol lre resl
ol lre group.



Srapn '.J. snous rne o|srr|our|on o, caregor, ol rne r,pe ol n,per||nks posreo o, rne group as a uno|e.

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12
0urr, Puo||c as Po||r|c|an, Varcr 2012


Srapn '.4. snous rne o|srr|our|on ol n,per||nks posreo o, rop users o, caregor,.

Three 0ays of Externa| Po||t|ca| Act|v|ty

lr ||re W|lr lre lr|rd rypolres|s, lrree s|rg|e-day sarp|es Were co||ecled |r add|l|or lo lre lWo-Wee| dala sarp|e. Trese
days Were se|ecled lor lre|r po||l|ca| s|gr|l|carce. Tre lrree days Were Feoruary 19
lr
2010, Apr|| ê
lr
2010, ard Apr|| Z
lr

2010. Tre l|rsl Was lre day oelore Vorared E|8arade| relurred lo Egypl lror 0ereva. Tr|s day Was se|ecled lo exp|ore
lre Apr|| ê
lr
Youlr Vovererl's resporse lo ar a|lerral|ve po||l|ca| l|gure - |r lr|s case E|8arade| - ga|r|rg a rusr ol
popu|ar|ly ard allerl|or. Tre secord ard lr|rd days are d|recl|y re|aled lo lre Apr|| ê
lr
prolesl d|scussed |r lre soc|o-
po||l|ca| oac|grourd secl|or ol lr|s paper. Tre Faceooo| acl|v|ly or lrese days |s ar |rporlarl dala sel |l ore |s lo oeller
urderslard lre group's ra|e-up ard roW |ls reroers reacl lo exlerra| everls.

To ellecl|ve|y corpare lre acl|v|ly dur|rg lre lWo-Wee| sarp|e lo a s|rg|e day ol acl|v|ly |l Was l|rsl recessary lo
eslao||sr a oase||re lor a s|rg|e day. To do lr|s, dala lror lre lWo-Wee| corslrucled sarp|e Was oro|er doWr |rlo ar
'average¨ day. Fror lr|s oase||re, lre d|llererces |r acl|v|ly cou|d oe quarl|lal|ve|y reasured.

Tre average day ca|cu|al|or prov|des a so||d corpar|sor W|lr lre lola|s |r lre proceed|rg dala sels. Tre relurr ol
Vorared E|8arade| lo Egypl resu|led |r ar exlrere|y r|gr |eve| ol acl|v|ly - |r corpar|sor lo lre lWo-Wee| corslrucled
sarp|e - or lre Apr|| ê
lr
Faceooo| group Wa||.

New Hed|a [ A|ternat|ve Po||t|cs work|ng Papers 1


13
0urr, Puo||c as Po||r|c|an, Varcr 2012
February 20th Apr|| ôth Apr|| 7th Average
Two-week
8amp|e
Proport|on of hyper||nks
ßy Top F|ve Users ê8.Z5º 2ê.50º 33.ê1º 12.9êº 2Z.35º
Number of 0|fferent
hyper||nk|ng Users 23 ê1 59 19 9
Tota| Number of Act|ve
Users 12 390 2Z5 23ê 28
hyper||nks 80 119 111 103 21
we|ghted Act|v|ty 533 2805 2521 1953 211
Unwe|ghted Act|v|ty 123 10ê5 1058 Z19 80

Tao|e '.'. snous a cross secr|on ol oara lor eacn ol rne rnree oa,s ol exrerna| po||r|ca| acr|v|r, compareo ro rne oara
co||ecreo our|ng rne ruo-ueek samp|e.

As Tao|e 1.1 sroWs c|ear|y, lre acl|v|ly or lre Faceooo| group's Wa|| lar exceeds lre vo|ure ol acl|v|ly ol lre average
day |r lre lWo-Wee| corslrucled sarp|e. Trere Was ar |rcrease ol oelWeer 333 ard 19ê percerl |r lre ruroer ol
ryper||r|s posled; ar |rcrease ol oelWeer 151 ard 1,331 percerl |r lre vo|ure ol urWe|grled acl|v|ly; ar |rcrease ol
oelWeer 222 ard 1,1ê1 percerl |r We|grled acl|v|ly; ar |rcrease ol 25ê ard Z11 percerl |r lre d|vers|ly ol lre users
posl|rg ryper||r|s; ard ar |rcrease ol oelWeer 150 ard 1,393 percerl |r lre d|vers|ly ol acl|ve users.

Tre l|rsl |rporlarl po|rl lo ra|e aooul lrese lWo dala lao|es |s lral lre 'Top user¨ lao|e lor lre lrree, s|rg|e-day erlr|es
|rc|udes lre lop l|ve ryper||r||rg poslers. Tr|s |s |r corlrasl lo lre lWo-Wee| sarp|e erlry Wr|cr ca|cu|ales lre
percerlage ol eacr calegory ol ryper||r| lor lre lop lWerly ryper||r||rg poslers. Tr|s |rcors|slercy |r ca|cu|al|or cou|d
rave polerl|a||y s|eWed lre dala lo oe |rcorparao|e, oul g|ver lre s|ze ol lre lWo groups - lre lWo-Wee| sarp|e
cors|sl|rg ol cors|derao|y rore ryper||r||rg poslers lrar lre lrree, s|rg|e-day sarp|es - lre ruroer |r lre 'lop user¨
calegory reeded lo oe cors|derao|y sra||er.

F|uctuat|on of Top 6ontr|butors

lr resporse lo researcr quesl|or lour, lre lop l|ve corlr|oulors |r eacr ol lre s|rg|e day sarp|es Were rol or lre ||sl ol
lre lop corlr|oulors |r lre lWo-Wee| corslrucled sarp|e. Tr|s car oe exp|a|red dur|rg lre Apr|| ê
lr
ard Apr|| Z
lr
sarp|e
days oecause rary ol lre rosl acl|ve corlr|oulors Were |||e|y |r lre group ol 93 lral Were arresled dur|rg lre slreel
derorslral|ors. lr lre|r aoserce, arolrer group ol acl|ve reroers loo| lre|r p|ace ard ra|rla|red lre exporerl|a||y
r|grer corlr|oul|ors as Was lourd dur|rg lre oase||re sarp|e, corl|rr|rg lre rypolres|s. Ard, as c|ear|y |rd|caled oy
Tao|e 1.1, lre reW lop corlr|oulors ra|rla|red lre s|eWed r|gr corlr|oul|or |eve|s |r corpar|sor lo lre resl ol lre group.
New Hed|a [ A|ternat|ve Po||t|cs work|ng Papers 1


11
0urr, Puo||c as Po||r|c|an, Varcr 2012

0|scuss|on

Tre quarl|lal|ve dala co||ecled |r lr|s sludy pos|l|ve|y all|rrs lre l|rsl rypolres|s: lral a sra|| ruroer ol group reroers
Were d|sproporl|orale|y respors|o|e lor corlerl posled or lre Faceooo| group Wa||. Tr|s resu|l Was rol surpr|s|rg g|ver
lre corror pallerr ol lre poWer-|aW d|slr|oul|or lourd |r rary slud|es ol or||re groups (3r|r|y, 2003).

Trere Were s|gr|l|carl d|llererces (|r lerrs ol oolr vo|ure ard corlerl) |r lre ryper||r||rg oerav|or ol lre lop
corlr|oulors ard lre group as a Wro|e. Tre lreorel|ca| lrareWor| ol lre paper argues lral lrese lop corlr|oulors Wou|d
a|so acl as op|r|or |eaders s|r||ar lo lre lrad|l|ora| oll||re 'lWo-slep l|oW ol corrur|cal|or rode|.¨ Tre r|grer rales ol
ryper||r||rg lo jourra||sr lrar lre group as a Wro|e seers lo s|gra| lral lre lop corlr|oulors Were acl|rg lo |rjecl rore
|rlorral|or |rlo lre group's d|scurs|ve space. Tre |arge arourl ol ryper||r||rg lo soc|a| relWor|s posled oy lre group as
a Wro|e Was aoserl |r lre ryper||r||rg oerav|or ol lre lop corlr|oulors perraps |rd|cal|rg lral lre group as a Wro|e Was
rore |||e|y lo use lre soc|a| aspecls ol lre s|le lrar lre |rlorral|ve ard po||l|ca| d|scurs|ve loo|s. Tr|s cou|d e|lrer oe
syrploral|c ol ar apalrel|c, po||l|ca||y d|sergaged group, or ol a group ol aud|erce reroers Wro read lre po||l|ca|
corlerl posled oy lre op|r|or |eaders ol lre group oul do rol see| oul or srare |rlorral|or lror olrer or||re sources.

Tre lourlr rypolres|s slaled lral |r lre everl ol a po||ce crac|doWr or lre lop corlr|oulors lo lre group, olrer reroers
Wou|d l||| lre de laclo |eadersr|p gap ard reslore lre poWer |aW d|slr|oul|or ol acl|v|ly ard, oy exlers|or, lre op|r|or
|eader parad|gr ol lre group. 0ur|rg lre Apr|| ê
lr
2010 prolesl, lre lop corlr|oulors Were rol acl|ve or lre group Wa||,
ard arolrer group ol d|sproporl|orale|y acl|ve users reeslao||sred lre poWer |aW r|erarcry. Tre rerova| ol lre lop
corlr|oulors ard de laclo |eaders d|d rol deslroy lre group ard lre acl|v|ly |rcreased s|gr|l|carl|y |r corpar|sor W|lr lre
lWo-Wee| sarp|e oase||re.

6onc|us|on

Tre aggregal|or serv|ce ol lre Faceooo| Wa|| |s deperderl upor lre cro|ces ard acl|v|ly ol group reroers Wro se|ecl
|rlorral|or sources lo srare. Trese |rd|v|dua|s la|e or lre ro|e ol op|r|or |eaders lral galrer |rlorral|or |r lre vasl
or||re erv|rorrerl ard reposl lr|s |rlorral|or v|a ryper||r| lor a|| reroers ol a se|l-se|ecl|rg group lo v|eW, lrereoy
sell|rg a red|a agerda lor lre group. Tr|s creales a slral|l|ed group |r a superl|c|a||y ror-r|erarcr|ca| group. ll, as
laoerras (200ê) corlerds, 'Tre slral|l|cal|or ol opporlur|l|es lo lrarslorr poWer |rlo puo||c |rl|uerce lrrougr lre
crarre|s ol red|aled corrur|cal|or.revea|s a poWer slruclure,¨ (119) a poWer slruclure W||| ererge |r lre seer|rg|y
ega||lar|ar weo 2.0 relWor|s. Tr|s |s |r corlrasl

lo lre v|eW ol 8er||er (200ê) Wro argues lral:

 
8
Though the two theorists seem to disagree on the potential of power structures to dominate the networked public sphere, this
disagreement could be the result of a different operationalization of the term ‘public sphere’. Benkler (2006) states that he is using a
rather “limited definition.” Benkler (2006) defines public sphere as “a sociologically descriptive category. It is a term for signifying
how, if at all, people in a given society speak to each other in their relationship as constituents about what their condition is and what
they ought or ought not to do as a political unit.” (Benkler, 2006: 178)
New Hed|a [ A|ternat|ve Po||t|cs work|ng Papers 1


15
0urr, Puo||c as Po||r|c|an, Varcr 2012
Tre relWor|ed puo||c sprere, as |l |s currerl|y deve|op|rg, suggesls lral |l W||| rave ro oov|ous po|rls ol corlro|
or exerl|or ol |rl|uerce - e|lrer oy l|al or oy purcrase...Ard |l pror|ses lo oller a p|allorr lor ergaged c|l|zers lo
cooperale ard prov|de ooserval|ors ard op|r|ors, ard lo serve as a Walcrdog over soc|ely or a peer-producl|or
rode|. (8er||er, 200ê: 1ZZ)

0esp|le r|s corl|derce |r lre ararcry ol lre relWor|ed puo||c sprere, 8er||er |aler oul||res lre pallerr ol popu|ar|ly
c|usler|rg, Wrereoy, 'al a racro|eve|, lre weo ard lre o|ogosprere rave g|arl, slrorg|y correcled cores - 'areas' Wrere
20-30 percerl ol a|| s|les are r|gr|y ard redurdarl|y |rler||r|ed.¨ (200ê: 21Z-8) Tr|s slruclure lral 8er||er descr|oes
r|rrors lre r|erarcry ol |rl|uerce lral laoerras addresses ard lr|s popu|ar|ly c|usler|rg |s rep||caled |r lre oper group
ara|yzed |r lr|s paper. Tr|s popu|ar|ly c|usler|rg resu|ls |r rol or|y a poWer slruclure oul a|so a |eadersr|p slruclure. Tre
preserl paper sougrl lo assess lre degree lo Wr|cr a parl|cu|ar or||re group lo||oWed lre pallerrs oller aoslracl|y
del|red oy relWor| lreor|sls. wr||e lre red|a ard parl|c|pal|or-oased rode| sel lorlr |r lr|s paper carrol exp|a|r a|| ol
lre preroreror ol lre Apr|| ê
lr
0roup Vovererl acl|v|ly, |l does prov|de a rode| lo exp|ore as lrese ror-r|erarcr|ca|
groups groW |r popu|ar|ly as p|allorrs |||e Faceooo| spread.

Tre erd goa|s Were lo lesl lre res|||erce ol lre group urder exlerra| po||l|ca| pressure; exp|ore lre Ways |r Wr|cr ar
oper or||re group car acl |r corcerl; ard oeg|r a corversal|or aooul roW or||re groups car prov|de po||l|ca||y acl|ve
c|l|zers |r repress|ve po||l|ca| erv|rorrerls ar a|lerral|ve lo lre lrad|l|ora| lorral|or ol po||l|ca| parl|es. Trougr lre
deve|oprerl ol or||re po||l|ca| groups carrol rad|ca||y crarge lre lrad|l|ora| po||l|ca| sprere W|lroul ar accorpary|rg
pusr lo acl lror W|lr|r |l, lrese lypes ol orgar|zal|ors do oller ar averue lo press lor relorr. Ard |r sore po||l|ca|
erv|rorrerls ary opporlur|ly lor co||ecl|ve ergagererl |s ar |rprovererl or currerl po||l|ca| spreres lral are c|osed lo
everyore oul lre rosl correcled.

















New Hed|a [ A|ternat|ve Po||t|cs work|ng Papers 1



0urr, Puo||c as Po||r|c|an, Varcr 2012
References

8er||er, Y. 200ê. Tne uea|rn ol neruorks. nou soc|a| prooucr|on rranslorms markers ano lreeoom. Ya|e uP. 515 pp.

8|dd|x, J.P ard l.w. Par|. 2008. 0r||re relWor|s ol sluderl prolesl: lre case ol lre ||v|rg Wage carpa|gr. heu Veo|a
ano $oc|er,. 10(ê): 8Z1-891.

8oyd, 0. ard N. E|||sor. 200Z. 3oc|a| relWor| s|les: del|r|l|or, r|slory, ard scro|arsr|p. Journa| ol 0ompurer Veo|areo
0ommun|car|on. 13(1): 210-230.

8r|l|sr 3oc|o|og|ca| Assoc|al|or. 2002. $raremenr ol ern|ca| pracr|ce. 1ê pp.

0urr, A. 2010. Egypl|ar gare-crarger. 0per0erocracy.rel. Puo||sred Vay 5 2010. WWW.operderocracy.rel/a||x-
durr/egypl|ar-gare-crarger

E|||sor, N. 8., 3le|rl|e|d, C., & Larpe, C. (200Z). Tre oerel|ls ol Faceooo| ¨lr|erds:¨ 3oc|a| cap|la| ard co||ege sluderls'
use ol or||re soc|a| relWor| s|les. Journa| ol 0ompurer-Veo|areo 0ommun|car|on. 12(1).

E|laraWay, V. Tre V|dd|e Easl's 0ereral|or Faceooo|. wor|o Po||c, Journa|. Fa|| 2008. ê9-ZZ.

Eyserdoacr, 0. ard J. E. T|||. 2001. Elr|ca| |ssues |r qua||lal|ve researcr or |rlerrel corrur|l|es. 3VJ. 323. 1103-1105.

Far|s, 0. 2009. Tre erd ol lre oeg|rr|rg: lre la||ure ol Apr|| ê
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ard lre lulure ol e|eclror|c acl|v|sr |r Egypl. /rao Veo|a
ano $oc|er,. 9 pp.

Feeze|, J, V. Corroy, ard V. 0uerrero. 2009. Faceooo| |s.losler|rg po||l|ca| ergagererl: a sludy ol or||re soc|a|
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3epleroer 2009.

laoerras, J. 200ê. 0oes derocracy sl||| erjoy ar ep|slero|og|ca| d|rers|or? 0ommun|car|on Tneor,. 1ê: 111-12ê.

lrlerral|ora| Freedor lor Express|or Excrarge ard Arao NelWor| lor lurar R|grls lrlorral|or. 2Z 3epleroer 2010.
3ecur|ly lorces arresl po||l|ca| acl|v|sls. rllp://WWW.|lex.org/egypl/2010/09/2Z/a|-rar|ry_arresled/

Lazarsle|d, P., 8. 8ere|sor, ard l. 0audel. 1911. Tne peop|e´s cno|ce. nou rne vorer makes up n|s m|no |n a pres|oenr|a|
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VcCoros, V.E. ard 0.L. 3raW. 19Z2. Tre agerda sell|rg lurcl|or ol lre rass red|a. Puo||c Dp|n|on Duarrer|,. 3ê(2):
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Raoll, Rary. 29 Augusl 2010. Egypl: 3ecur|ly 0eparlrerl lo Vor|lor Faceooo| ard 3upporl lre 0overrrerl. S|ooa|
vo|ces Dn||ne. rllp://advocacy.g|ooa|vo|cesor||re.org/2010/08/29/egypl-secur|ly-deparlrerl-lo-ror|lo-laceooo|-ard-supporl-lre-
goverrrerl/

3rareer, VA. 2008. use ol soc|a| relWor|s ard |rlorral|or see||rg oerav|or ol sluderls dur|rg po||l|ca| cr|ses |r
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3r|r|y, C. 2008. lere comes ever,ooo,. rne pouer ol organ|z|ng u|rnour organ|zar|ons. Pergu|r. 321 pp.


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